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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Protecting European consumers

28-06-2019

Consumer protection rules have been improving the rights of consumers in the European Union since the 1970s. While the level of protection is today considered to be among the highest in the world, consumers in the EU are still faced with a number of issues. According to the latest available data, in 2016 one in five consumers said that they had had a reason to complain in the last 12 months, a level which has remained largely unchanged since 2008. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of ...

Consumer protection rules have been improving the rights of consumers in the European Union since the 1970s. While the level of protection is today considered to be among the highest in the world, consumers in the EU are still faced with a number of issues. According to the latest available data, in 2016 one in five consumers said that they had had a reason to complain in the last 12 months, a level which has remained largely unchanged since 2008. Since 2014, efforts have been made in a number of areas, including stronger cross-border cooperation between national authorities in charge of consumer protection and market surveillance. Notably, the Commission proposed a 'new deal for consumers' in April 2018, to enable representative legal actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers and to modernise EU consumer protection rules. Sector-specific efforts included: eliminating roaming charges across the EU in 2017; legislation aimed at facilitating consumer participation in the digital single market; reforms on the rules on privacy and data protection; enhancing the rights of energy consumers and passengers; and efforts to address the 'dual quality' of branded food products. The EU budget for consumer protection is relatively small, because although rules in this field are made at the EU level, their implementation and enforcement are carried out by the Member States. The consumer programme has a budget of €188 million for the 2013-2020 period, or roughly €0.05 per citizen per year. This may change in the new multiannual financial framework, as consumer protection becomes part of a wider single market programme, which is expected to create synergies between its various components. Future policies could focus on longer product lifetime, labelling and quality requirements for non-agricultural and industrial products, fairer food labelling and retail financial services. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Fostering cross-border investment – Law applicable to the third-party effects of assignments of claims

18-06-2018

The Commission is proposing to harmonise the conflict of law rules in regard to the applicable national law applicable to third-party effects in the case of cross-border assignments of rights. This initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment on the proposal observes that the impact assessment is characterised by a lack of quantitative evidence and this is acknowledged explained by the impact assessment itself. The IA, however, still seems to make a reasonable case for the proposal on ...

The Commission is proposing to harmonise the conflict of law rules in regard to the applicable national law applicable to third-party effects in the case of cross-border assignments of rights. This initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment on the proposal observes that the impact assessment is characterised by a lack of quantitative evidence and this is acknowledged explained by the impact assessment itself. The IA, however, still seems to make a reasonable case for the proposal on the basis mostly of legal analysis and supported by anecdotal evidence gathered through the stakeholder consultation.

Enhancement of social legislation in road transport I (Driving time)

15-05-2017

Regulation 561/2006 lays down rules applicable to driving times, breaks and rest periods for drivers engaged in the carriage of goods and passengers by road. Various resources show that presently there are several challenges linked with the implementation of the regulation. These include diverging enforcement practice applied across the different EU Member States, clarity of the text of the regulation, broad discretion of the Member States and various exemptions allowed by the regulation. These challenges ...

Regulation 561/2006 lays down rules applicable to driving times, breaks and rest periods for drivers engaged in the carriage of goods and passengers by road. Various resources show that presently there are several challenges linked with the implementation of the regulation. These include diverging enforcement practice applied across the different EU Member States, clarity of the text of the regulation, broad discretion of the Member States and various exemptions allowed by the regulation. These challenges influence harmonisation of road transport, as well as legal certainty, and they limit the fulfilment of the regulation's goal. The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to update Regulation 561/2006 to respond to these challenges. Similarly, the European Economic and Social Committee has recommended that the existing legislation is updated. Furthermore, representatives of various stakeholder groups have voiced requests to update this piece of EU legislation. Finally, the European Commission itself has expressed willingness to revise the regulation as part of the enhancement of the social legislation in road transport. It is expected that the European Commission will submit this proposal in the second quarter of 2017.

How an EU Lifespan Guarantee Model Could Be Implemented Across the European Union

31-01-2017

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee. It looks at the interrelation between the Consumer Sales and Guarantee Directive (CSD) and the Ecodesign Directive (EDD) with respect to guarantees and product expected lifetime. Through legal research and stakeholder surveys, it develops an EU lifespan guarantee model, which could be implemented by amendments to the proposal for an Online ...

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee. It looks at the interrelation between the Consumer Sales and Guarantee Directive (CSD) and the Ecodesign Directive (EDD) with respect to guarantees and product expected lifetime. Through legal research and stakeholder surveys, it develops an EU lifespan guarantee model, which could be implemented by amendments to the proposal for an Online Sales Directive (OSD) and the EDD. It recommends extending the EDD to include the lifespan and extending the limitation period of the OSD. A commercial guarantee for the lifespan of a product is also suggested.

Limitation periods for road traffic accidents

07-07-2016

Widely differing limitation periods for tort claims across the European Union (EU) Member States can lead to victims of cross-border road traffic accidents losing their right to compensation. This European Added Value Assessment (EAVA) sketches out the weaknesses of the relevant existing legal frameworks which create obstacles for victims of cross-border road traffic accidents in accessing legal justice. Furthermore, the EAVA identifies the costs that arise on account of differing rules on limitation ...

Widely differing limitation periods for tort claims across the European Union (EU) Member States can lead to victims of cross-border road traffic accidents losing their right to compensation. This European Added Value Assessment (EAVA) sketches out the weaknesses of the relevant existing legal frameworks which create obstacles for victims of cross-border road traffic accidents in accessing legal justice. Furthermore, the EAVA identifies the costs that arise on account of differing rules on limitation periods, not only in terms of length of time but also with regard to the beginning of a limitation period, the procedural requirements for stopping the running of a limitation period, and application to minors and disabled people. The EAVA demonstrates that differing rules in the application of limitation periods can generate costs such as additional lawyer's fees and fees for expert evidence on foreign rules. Finally, the EAVA outlines two rules for harmonising limitation periods within the EU in the form of minimum standards that could generate European added value by simplifying the existing legal framework and offering greater legal certainty for victims of cross-border road traffic accidents.

Cross-Border Traffic Accidents in the EU - The Potential Impact of Driverless Cars

30-06-2016

Commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI committee, this study provides an analysis of the potential legal impact of the introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles on rules of private international law determining jurisdiction and applicable law in the EU Member States in the event of a cross-border traffic accident. Following a case-studies approach, it makes a number of recommendations to improve ...

Commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI committee, this study provides an analysis of the potential legal impact of the introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles on rules of private international law determining jurisdiction and applicable law in the EU Member States in the event of a cross-border traffic accident. Following a case-studies approach, it makes a number of recommendations to improve the legal framework. In line with recent EU law trends towards enhanced protection for the victims and given that products liability is likely to gain more importance in the area, the study suggests the introduction of a duty for car manufacturers to contract liability insurance covering traffic accidents victims; the possibility of a direct action against a manufacturer’s liability insurer and the establishment of a forum at the domicile of the victim for claims against manufacturers of cars using new technologies. In order to increase legal certainty, the study recommends to redefine the respective scopes of application of the two systems of private international law currently coexisting in the EU to determine the law applicable (the Rome II Regulation and the 1971 and 1973 Hague Conventions), and to apply Rome II in cases in which both the claimant and the defendant are domiciled in EU Member States. Finally, autonomous technologies may increase the difficulty to initiate extra-contractual liability claims therefore the study proposes that limitation periods be extended at the substantive law level or that a cumulative connecting mechanism be introduced at private international level for the benefit of the victims.

Външен автор

Thomas Kadner Graziano (University of Geneva, Switzerland)

Research for REGI Committee - Simplified Cost Options in Practice

15-06-2016

This study reviews experience with the application of Simplified Cost Options (SCOs), primarily under the European Regional Development Fund, in the programming periods 2007-2013 and 2014-2020. The focus is on the achievement of the immediate and wider objectives of the SCOs, notably the reduction of administrative burden/cost and the refocussing of resources from financial reporting and control to the implementation and achievement of policy objectives. The study presents the first evidence that ...

This study reviews experience with the application of Simplified Cost Options (SCOs), primarily under the European Regional Development Fund, in the programming periods 2007-2013 and 2014-2020. The focus is on the achievement of the immediate and wider objectives of the SCOs, notably the reduction of administrative burden/cost and the refocussing of resources from financial reporting and control to the implementation and achievement of policy objectives. The study presents the first evidence that the uptake of SCOs, owing to the improved regulatory framework and to enhanced guidance, has increased in the 2014-2020 programming period and that the SCOs are achieving their intended objectives.

Външен автор

Mike Beke, Roland Blomeyer, Nicolò Franceschelli, Elsa Perreau and Antonio Sanz

Cableway installations: Proposal for a new regulation

31-05-2016

Around 17 500 cableway installations currently exist in western Europe and the Alps, representing 60% of the global total. European industry has generally held a dominant position in the global cableway installations market, with the ski industry remaining the primary market for cableway technology. The new regulation covering the European Economic Area is to replace Directive 2000/9/EC relating to cableway installations designed to carry persons. Its aim is to simplify the current rules, align them ...

Around 17 500 cableway installations currently exist in western Europe and the Alps, representing 60% of the global total. European industry has generally held a dominant position in the global cableway installations market, with the ski industry remaining the primary market for cableway technology. The new regulation covering the European Economic Area is to replace Directive 2000/9/EC relating to cableway installations designed to carry persons. Its aim is to simplify the current rules, align them with the European Union New Legislative Framework, and address some problems experienced in implementing the Directive 2000/9/EC. Given its predominantly technical nature, the new regulation was developed with input from experts via targeted consultations. Commission's impact assessment revealed a broad consensus among Member States, manufacturers, notified bodies and stakeholders regarding the need to simplify and clarify the current rules. Following approval by both Parliament and Council, Regulation 2016/424 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union, entering into force on 20 April 2016. This updates the previous version, of January 2016: PE 573.895.

The Balance of Competences Review in the United Kingdom, 2012-2014

12-01-2016

Against a backdrop of continuing and often intense political debate in the United Kingdom about its relationship with the rest of the European Union (EU), the Coalition Agreement of May 2010, underpinning the 2010-2015 Conservative–Liberal Democrat government, stated that the new administration would ‘examine the balance of the EU’s existing competences’, in the context of an overall government commitment to ‘ensure that there is no further transfer of sovereignty or powers’ to the EU during that ...

Against a backdrop of continuing and often intense political debate in the United Kingdom about its relationship with the rest of the European Union (EU), the Coalition Agreement of May 2010, underpinning the 2010-2015 Conservative–Liberal Democrat government, stated that the new administration would ‘examine the balance of the EU’s existing competences’, in the context of an overall government commitment to ‘ensure that there is no further transfer of sovereignty or powers’ to the EU during that five-year parliamentary term. This process was taken forward in a formal ‘Review of the Balance of Competences between the UK and the EU’, which was launched in July 2012 and concluded in December 2014. The UK government’s official communication to the House of Commons and House of Lords to launch the Balance of Competences Review (Command Paper 8415) used a broad definition of EU competence, covering ‘everything deriving from EU law that affects what happens in the UK’. The review was to seek to examine all the areas where the Treaties gave the EU competence to act (see box below), and to audit what the EU did and how this affected the UK. The whole process would be ‘comprehensive, well-informed and analytical’, gathering evidence to help inform public debate. Whilst the review would be government-led, it would also involve outside experts, organisations and individuals who wished to feed in their views on the issues covered.

Harmonisation measures for the internal market

11-01-2016

In 2014, the Commission proposed to revise three directives, namely on Personal protective equipment, Appliances burning gaseous fuels and Cableway installations, with the aim to simplify and update them to address some past implementation problems and to align them with the New Legislative Framework. According to the Commission proposals all three directives should be replaced by regulations and concern the European Economic Area (covering the EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) ...

In 2014, the Commission proposed to revise three directives, namely on Personal protective equipment, Appliances burning gaseous fuels and Cableway installations, with the aim to simplify and update them to address some past implementation problems and to align them with the New Legislative Framework. According to the Commission proposals all three directives should be replaced by regulations and concern the European Economic Area (covering the EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).

Предстоящи събития

01-10-2019
Health threats from climate change: Scientific evidence for policy-making
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